Yoga Party Tricks

Today, I went to a workshop at Prana Power Yoga in Cambridge called Yoga Party Tricks aka arm balances and inversions and it was fantastic! It was led by one of Prana's amazing teachers Tony Bartone. To be fair, I really wasn't up for a workshop today.  All this snow has really been getting me down in the dumps and all I wanted to do was stay in bed and snuggle up.  But, I am glad I made it to the workshop. We started off with basket headstand.  Basket headstand is probably the easiest for me personally. I have really been working on my core strength in order to more easily access arm balances and inversions.  I was able to play around with basket headstand away from the wall and do different leg variations such as eagle legs, wide legged split, supta badha konasana.  It was great and I felt really strong and capable in all of the different variations. For basket headstand, you need to cradle your head in your hands and press your forearms and the crown of your head into the ground and then using your core strength press up into the full expression of the pose.  This is not really a pose you want to kick up into-- it puts too much compression on your cervical spine.

Next we moved onto crow and side crow.  While in teacher training, crow was so hard for me. I just couldn't get my bum up high enough.  Eventually, I was able to do it with my feet up on the blocks and then a few weeks ago I was able to do it without blocks. You really need to have your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle and your elbows stacked over your wrist in order to be able to shift your weight forward onto your arms. I am still working on holding it for longer but it felt like a great accomplishment just getting up and off the floor.  Very satisfying.  Side crow I am still working on.  I can do a one point side crow better than a two point side crow and I think thats because my spinal rotation is lacking.  With a lot of the arm balances, I think I lack a lot of shoulder flexibility as well as shoulder strength. Definitely two things that I can and will work on! A lot of people went on to scissoring their legs or one legged crow but I am not there yet.  As much as it is satisfying nailing a pose, it's also nice to have something to work on.  I have been a little bored with my fitness routine of late so I think I am going to put myself to work on my shoulder flexibility and strength.

Our last arm balance before heading back to the wall was 8 point or 8 angle pose.  This one completely escaped me! I don't know for sure what it was but I couldn't even wrap my head around what need to go where haha. I think I need to work on my hip flexibility (a  constant fight for me) and my shoulder flexibility (also a consistent thing I want to work on).  I also think I need to watch someone do it a few times again to fully understand how to work my way into the pose. I found this little How to so maybe it will help: 8 angle pose

Last we headed back to the wall to work on shoulder stand, scorpion and hand stand.  I love working on all these. It's so fun to get upside down and get a little headrush.  Each time I feel a little bit stronger.  This time I was able to hold hand stand for a few seconds away from the wall.  I was also able to tap away from the wall for scorpion to (better than I was for shoulder stand surprisingly) so that was fun.  All these poses are really exhausting so towards the end it was getting hard to engage all the proper muscles and keep good form.

All in all, it was a great workshop.  One thing about arm balances and inversions that I love is that you really need to learn to let go of fear and trust yourself.  Yeah, you might fall on your face. And yes, I might have fallen quite a few times (upwards of 30) while attempting crow. But when you finally get it, it's worth it.  It's such a rush and I always want to do a little dance when I finally nail an advanced pose.  Letting go of fear and trusting yourself is an inversion lesson that you can take into the real world with you.  Most of the time people don't achieve their goals because they are afraid are failing or afraid of making a fool of themselves.  But, succeeding in  a dream or a goal is just like nailing a pose, once you finally get there you feel such a rush. It is all worth it.  Next time you feel held back, think about why. Let go, let live and trust yourself